STRONG: "Ability to withstand great force or pressure"
I hear it all the time, "here's to strong women - may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them." And as a woman myself, I fully support that quote and all it represents, being a friend, daughter, and mother myself.
I absolutely believe that women deserve to be equal to men - personally and professionally, and being strong and compassionate toward others and life is essential to happiness and success. That being said, what about raising strong children, in general, who turn into strong adults? What about sons, brothers, and eventually, partners/husbands being raised to be resilient so little boys can turn into efficacious, hard-working, and kindhearted men we know and love? As a mama to a little boy, I almost take offense when all the hype is solely focused on raising strong women, because when I look into my son's sweet little eyes and feel his kind soul, I think, "Here's to strong men - may we know them, may we raise them, may we help them turn into incredible people."
In my private and professional life, I strive to symbolize the faith of self-love and happiness for women...for people, and believe in the right to be a strong, independent female full of good character, dignity, and strength.
As parents, we should shift the focus from gender specific this-and-that's to focus on raising strong HUMANS full of the attributes listed above. We should put an emphasis on raising little boys and little girls who will turn into men and women who will go on to make this world a better place. Hearts full of kindness, strength, and compassion, and souls filled with humbleness, good morals and ethics, and the skills to be successful yet considerate, no matter their race, sexual preference, or gender identity.
COMPASSION: "Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others."
As a mama to a tiny toddler, here's to raising strong little boys and little girls - little HUMANS - who turn into adolescents and grown adults who are thoughtful, devoted, and chivalrous. Those qualities mark character and strength more than any measurement of the word strong when referring to the definition physically, as the "ability to withstand great force or pressure." Instead, strength should be measured by the ability to withstand great force or pressure in our hearts and our minds, rather than a weighted number.
Just as moms to little girls wish to raise strong daughters, moms to little boys hope to raise strong men, or tiny humans, in general, no matter their gender. And, again, I'm not talking strong as it's defined as being able to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks. We're talking strong as in being a good person; knowing right from wrong, and choosing what is morally and ethically correct, while living a life one is proud of - and a life other's are proud of them for living.
As humans, we naturally search for partners who we would be thrilled to see turn into a wonderful father or mother (if our path seeks parenthood). As parents, we hope to raise children who go on to eventually be someone's friend, boss, employee, partner, or parent someday. We wish for the humans we know and the humans we raise to live a life full of soul-filling experiences, facing humbling and life changing adventures or challenges, and using good judgment while treating others with dignity and respect. To me, cheers to those characteristics making someone a strong person.
GOOD CHARACTER: "A complex of mental and ethical traits" which typically include the existence of empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, loyalty, good behavior and habits.
Strong humans treat others as they'd like to be treated. Strong men treat women as equals. Strong women and strong men don't need a partner to complete them, but perhaps seek a better half to enrich their being and fulfill their life, as just that - a partner; through ups and downs, through good and bad; through better or for worse. Someone to make them a better person; someone to bring out the best of them. With or without wanting a partner or not, strength comes from within.
Strong men aren't afraid to help share gender roles, like vacuuming the house, cooking a meal (other than just on the BBQ), cleaning the dishes, or helping out playing "soccer dad." Being strong means being considerate; being fair. Just as strong women aren't afraid to change their own oil, dig in the dirt, or have a voice. Strong humans can do anything they set their minds to, regardless of their background or gender.
Strong people seek fair solutions to difficult problems, without placing the blame on others or giving up. Strong humans aren't cowards or controlling. Strong humans don't engage in infidelity, or cause physical or emotional harm. Strong humans offer to pay on the first date and remind us that chivalry is still out there; still alive, regardless if they are a man or a woman.
Strong humans give compliments, and mean them. Strong beings aren't afraid to tell someone they appreciate and value them. Strong people aren't afraid to speak up for others, and stand up for individuals other than themselves. They value and show respect for other's opinions and values, even when may be different than their own. Strong humans place value in the fact that other's dissimilarities cause the world to go 'round; to be filled with beauty- to be filled with beautiful souls.
Strong humans aren't afraid to love and respect and honor and cherish with grace and dignity. Strong people aren't afraid to work through difficult times. Strong partners don't discard wedding vows, or try to hurt others when they may be hurting. Strong people are kind. Strong beings are brave. Strong humans work hard and appreciate their successes, while staying humble and learning from their weaknesses.
Strong little boys and little girls who turn into even stronger men are women are our future.
So why don't we focus on knowing, raising and being strong humans? Because after all, strength comes from within, and doesn't matter what race or gender you are based on masculinity or femininity.
As parents, we will never all agree on religion, politics, or social issues, but one thing we can all agree on is wishing to raise tiny humans who grow up to be happy, smart, successful, and compassionate - about their lives, their careers, and toward others.
Here's to raising strong people. Strong humans. Strong little girls AND strong little boys.